What a great day!! A long exhausting tiring day, but.... yay!!
I had my lesson with Cindy this morning and... it was great!!! I ended up putting the half pad on Dan to see if it would help my leg position. I told Cindy that maybe it would help my heel get closer to Dan so I didn't feel the need to dig my toe into him. She said.... THAT's NOT where you push!!! She came over and reminded me (because she's told me this millions of times... WHY CANNOT I LEARN!?!) that it's my upper calf that closes on Dan and that is what he responds to. She then went on to say that he doesn't respect my leg and ignores me and then I feel the need to use my heel. But the problem is that he needs to listen to my leg. So.. we talked about "respect my authority" or "Shock and awe" more or less again. And I admitted that I needed to make that a priority, but not just for forward off my leg, but for bending and other things too. And then I said that I get sucked out of it because I feel like then I'm constantly turning up the aids and then the aids require that level to do anything. But then I fizzled out because I know better. I know that AFTER I do shock and awe... I go back to whispering. He's smart. He'll figure it out. It may take 55 times in one ride... and we may have to readdress it frequently, but.. in the long run... I need to do it. At the end of my lesson Cindy helped me feel a bit better. She said that I didn't ride like that before the rehab. But that during rehab it became a habit to allow him to become a slacker. Partly because I was babying him, partly because I was just trying to keep him from doing more than he was allowed and/or hurting himself, and partly because I was afraid of hurting him or that he was hurting. But unfortunately it has morphed into non-rehab riding and I'm just letting him walk all over me essentially. She also said that part of the reason he makes a snarky face at the other horses is because he's not concerned about me. If he was paying attention to me, he'd be too busy to be a butt.
So... we started off with shock and awe. And because I've done it before... and he knows and is smart.. it didn't take 55 times. It only took about 7 total the entire ride maybe. So yay! And in general, he was MUCH more in front of my leg. Even at the walk :) Yay!
We then addressed another issue. It started with me being firm about him bending around my inside leg and moving off of it. And if he didn't, then I used the whip (whether on my leg or my saddle or Dan) and reminded him. But at some point Cindy mentioned my elbow. And... I swear.. I KNOW These things.. my brain just doesn't quite somehow make it all work. Like.. I know that he gets too long in his right side and that I need to keep the connection. I know this. Yet somehow I keep softening that right rein. Cindy told me to keep that elbow at my side. Own it! And even this has been said before. But she really harped on it and even went so far as to tell me to plant it almost behind my back. (Not really... not her words, but that's what it felt like to me). ;) And holy cow!! It was like the magic bullet!!! What what?!?! Seriously! It made SUCH a difference!! It was like.... he stopped bouncing in the connection. He started lifting that right rib cage and bending. He started hanging in his head carriage instead of bracing, and his back lifted, and his neck muscles bulged appropriately! It was amazing. And I'm sure a lot of it had to do with the inside leg respect too, but.. it took the elbow at my side and the connection on the right rein to get that feeling of brilliance! But it was SOOOO nice!!! And he managed to hold it for a fair amount too.
YAY YAY YAY!!!! Such a fun lesson. now... MUST NOT FORGET and must continue to do this. I'm even going to go as far as putting a note in my phone to remind me. :) Because sadly... it's just that bad.
Then I came home and got a quote to fix the concrete in the washrack... then I went and adjusted 9 Icelandics!! They are so cute and fluffy. And then I adjusted a really sweet QH mare. And then I got a lovely lovely email from a client about how she cannot believe how much better her dog feels because of me :)
Ahhhh.... now for a shower and bed!